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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008, 12:52 GMT
Website filters cowboy builders
A company which works like an online dating agency for homeowners and tradespeople is aiming to end the scourge of cowboy builders.

Buildersite, based at the University of Bristol, has more than 3,000 builders registered on the site.

Homeowners register their building requirements and tradespeople ask questions and visit the property to bid for the work.

Users check the bidder's profile and feedback comments when the job is done.

The website which was established in 2006 has just received a substantial cash injection from Paul Birch, co-founder of Bebo and the Accelerator Group which invested in the start-up of Agent Provocateur and Lovefilm.

Positive response

The money will be spent on technology, marketing and customer support.

Former stonemason and CEO of Buildersite Ryan Notz said: "This funding will enable us to expand the team to enhance our offering of reputation-driven matches.

"The take-up and feedback from our users has been fantastic so far - it's a real buzz to build something that is really changing a market."

Builders who use the site have responded positively to the news.

Cymon Allen, a plumber from Tunbridge Wells, said: "Finding a good tradesman is fraught with problems and anything that helps weed out the cowboys is excellent news for everyone connected with the building trade."

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